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Sender Theory

by Andrew May

Published in Fortean Times issue 185, September 2004

[The July 2004 issue of Fortean Times contained a spoof article entitled "Charles B Horn and the Senders", which appealed to me because the (totally fictitious) Professor Horn was an amalgam of two of my favorite archetypes -- the UFO believer and the postmodernist academic. However, I felt the article stretched credulity somewhat by combining both archetypes in a a single personality, and that's what prompted me to write this letter. I was flattered that it was positioned first out of the six letters FT printed on the subject two issues later.]

With the feature "Charles B Horn and the Senders", were you trying to create a new and totally spurious branch of ufology, just because you could, or is it supposed to be an amusing satire on the type of nutcase we normally read about in the Hierophant's column? I suspect the latter, because so many of the jokes are so obviously exactly that. But there's also an irreconcilable split in Horn's personality. On the one hand he's the archetypal believer -- dead straight, totally literal, effortlessly capable of fitting any and all facts into his own Framework of Truth without the slightest hint of an alternative viewpoint. But then you spoil the illusion by throwing in a phrase like "post-modern deconstructive techniques based on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis", which comes straight from the other end of the believer/cynic scale -- the far left liberal arts theory that believes in nothing and holds that all views are equally valid. Or was that the whole point?

Copyright © 2004 Andrew May

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